Our cross-country road trip in pictures.
In Southern California, Thanksgiving is usually too early for powder skiing but too late for swimming at the beach, so where does one go for a local Thanksgiving break? Of course, I aksed my very opinionated kids – Disneyland. “But it’s crowded,” I said. “We will only go on one ride,” they answered. “Ya, right,” I thought.
I love Disneyland, and I love the magic in my kids’ eyes when they go there. It is, after all, the penultimate weekend getaway for families with kids in Southern California. In fact, fall is one of my favorite times to visit Disneyland. But if Disneyland isn’t in the cards or you want to avoid crowded amusement parks, here are a few magical alternatives.
While the falls might not be raging, Yosemite can still be an awesome place to visit in November. It’s ideal for families looking for smaller crowds and more isolated hiking paths. Especially if you are a California native, a weekend in Yosemite during Thanksgiving break can offer the brood a brisk adventure – and if you live in the San Fernando Valley, like me, it can offer some much-needed chillier weather. That being said, the weather is somewhat unpredictable – it could be snowy or it could be fairly dry – so be prepared for any type of adventure.
And for those who don’t plan on cooking at home, there are several options for Thanksgiving meals at The Awahnee, Yosemite Lodge and the Wawona Dining Room.
Tenaya Lodge, located just outside the park, also offers Thanksgiving dining as well as holiday activities such as gingerbread house decorating, a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony and sleigh rides, weather permitting.
I love the historic charm of downtown San Luis Obispo and nothing gets me in the holiday spirit more than the cozy weather of California’s Central Coast (obviously, I must be a Cali native). So, heading to SLO for a few days to escape the L.A. smog and bask in the crisp coastal air is my idea of heaven. It also doesn’t hurt that there are some cool local events nearby to go along with the visit such as the Holiday Craft Bazaar in downtown Paso Robles on Nov. 28 as well as a tree-lighing ceremony with Mrs. Claus herself at the bandstand at 5:30 p.m.
With the drought in California, who knows if Thanksgiving will be a banner year an Mammoth Mountain for skiers. But it’s never a bad idea to beat the holiday heat in L.A. with a trip to the Eastern Sierra. And who knows, maybe those desperate to hit the slopes can get in some turns before Black Friday and also take advantage of early-season booking rates.
Looking for the perfect father’s day gift? What about taking dad on a road trip — in his dream car? A car rental may not initially come to your mind when thinking about a gift for dad, but taking advantage of Hertz Dream Car Collection, you’ll be able to give him a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get behind the wheel of a sleek, powerful sports car – such as an Aston Martin, Ferrari or Lamborghini – for a weekend getaway or just the day.
The Hertz Dream Car Collection currently includes the following vehicles, which are available at various Hertz locations in the U.S.:
· Aston Martin V8 Vantage (coupe and roadster)
· Audi (R8, Spyder)
· BMW (650i Gran Coupe, 650i Convertible, M3 Convertible, M5)
· Cadillac CTS-V
· Ferrari (California, F430 Spider)
· Jaguar XJL (NEW!)
· Lamborghini Gallardo (Bicolore, LP 550-2)
· Land Rover Range Rover Sport
· Mercedes-Benz AMG (C63, E63, SLS, SLS Roadster)
· Mercedes-Benz (SL550, G550, S550)
· Nissan GT-R (NEW!)
· Porsche (911, Cayenne, Boxster, Panamera, Cayman)
· SRT Viper
· Tesla Model S
And just in time for Father’s Day, Hertz just added the new Jaguar XJL to its already impressive fleet, offering well-equipped cabin features heated and ventilated seats and a panoramic glass roof while the exterior sheet metal conveys an expressive modern aesthetic.
To get a better sense of which cars are available at the Hertz location(s) closest to you, we recommending giving the location a call to be sure they have the vehicle you want. For detailed pricing, visit http://hertzdreamcars.com/.
Family road trips are akin to the American dream. They are an iconic way to explore the vast U.S. countryside. There is nothing quite as freeing as packing up your belongings, stuffing them into the trunk and heading out onto the open road. It feels as though the world is your oyster. You and the kids can go anywhere, do anything. You can change your mind at the last minute. You can stay at high-end hotels one night and a motor lodge the next or be surrounded by the bright lights of the big city followed by a day of hiking in the mountains. The U.S. is blessed with such a varied landscape that you never know what’s next.
While going on a long road trip is exciting, to avoid disappointment and enjoy the best trip possible, putting in some planning time for the journey should begin before you get in the car. So if you’re planning to take a road trip, consider the following ideas.
A budget will help you manage your expenses properly:
- Car maintenance. A qualified mechanic can check the condition of your brakes and tires. The mechanic can also tell you if you need any additional maintenance or parts replaced, and if the car is in its best condition for the trip.
- Fuel expenses. Gas prices tend to vary by location. Find out the actual price of gas and calculate how much you’ll spend during the trip. It’s a good idea to estimate a bit on the higher side in case there are any emergencies.
- Lodging, food and entertainment. Figure out your food and hotel expenses depending on how many people will be joining you on the trip. Remember to budget for family activities such as visiting a museum, a park or a fair.
Routes and Safe Driving
Before and during your trip it’s important to:
- Choose your destination before you head out for the day. Each state has tourist attractions that are open to the public. America’s Byways has a search engine that helps you find things to do depending on where you are.
- Drive with caution. Drive carefully when traveling on the road, this way you’ll avoid getting a ticket and you’ll be sure that the people on your trip are safe. Always make sure that your passengers have their seatbelts fastened.
- Make frequent stops. The car ride itself may be fun, but remember to make frequent stops to stretch your legs, use the restroom, have a meal or just enjoy the scenery.
On long trips, children have special needs. Remember to:
- Provide safety seats. There are many car seats and boosters specifically for children that can be placed in the back seat of your car. Find the appropriate seat for your child’s age or size and make sure it’s properly installed. Use the Car Seat Inspection Station Locator to find the nearest place where a technician can verify the seat is installed correctly and according to the law.
- Bring snacks. Pack a cooler with healthy snacks that are portioned appropriately for your child’s age. These snacks help ensure that children are getting enough to eat and drink on the trip.
- Immunize your children. All children under age six should receive their necessary vaccines (PDF) to avoid picking up illnesses or diseases that could be transmitted through direct contact, or by food and water. Also remember to pack cold, allergy, headache and stomach medications.
- To learn more about road trips and vacations, see USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov, the U.S. Government’s official web portals in English and Spanish, and part of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).
For more advice: www.usa.gov
Furry friends rejoice, the Grand Canyon’s pet resort means that you can lap up luxury while your humans soak up the scenery.
Nearly everyone who boards the Grand Canyon Railroad (GCR) in Williams, located next to the south rim of the Grand Canyon, arrives by car and many travel with their family dog or cat in tow. While pet parents enjoy a trip into the canyon or an extended stay at the hotel, pets can stay at the GCR Pet Resort, which boasts an entire residential wing for pets: 28 spacious rooms for dogs and 16 condos for felines. Served by a caring and attentive staff, The GCR Pet Resort is a modern retreat for pet parents who want to experience the iconic Route 66 in the town of Williams, a historic train ride and take in the splendor of the Grand Canyon without leaving their four-legged family members at home or in a kennel far away.
The pet resort is located adjacent to the GCR Railway, Hotel and RV Park. Daily rates begin at $16 for cats and $23 for dogs, with the option of adding a second cat or dog to the same kennel for just $12 and $16 respectively. Extended stays of seven nights or more are available for a weekly rate of $98 for cats and $140 for dogs. Pet owners are encouraged to bring their pet’s favorite foods, beds and toys. All animals must have paperwork to provide proof of current shots.